Searching for a weekend adventure? Explore Sunshine Canyon Dr.

Gold Hill | Articles | Colorado EncyclopediaLooking for something new to do with your weekend? The Boulder realtor team at Burgess Group | Compass has the perfect answer! Consider a scenic drive (with the windows down, of course!), through Sunshine Canyon. This road will wind you through the foothills, past impressive homes, to the humble mining towns that form Colorado’s history. There are plenty of scenic stops along the way with vistas of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. 

Where is Sunshine Canyon Drive?

Hop onto Sunshine Canyon Dr. northeast of the Pearl Street Mall downtown. The Mapleton Hill Neighborhood is the gateway to Sunshine Canyon. As soon as the road tucks into the mountains Mapleton Avenue turns into Sunshine Canyon Drive. 

Where will Sunshine Canyon Drive lead me?

Take Sunshine Canyon Drive to Gold Hill, CO

Restaurant review: Gold Hill Inn – Colorado DailyIt will lead you northwest to the little mountain town of Gold Hill. This town is a historic destination and the site of the first major gold discovery during the Colorado Gold Rush. There are no paved streets in Gold Hill, only dirt roads and restored historic buildings. While it’s rumored Gold Hill is a ghost town, this would be an inaccurate description. There is an active general store, a small museum, and a two-bedroom schoolhouse. The Gold Hill Inn, features a beer garden, live music, and the occasional Murder Mystery theatre night. 

Take Sunshine Canyon Drive to Ward, CO

Once you’ve reached Gold Hill, turn north onto Lickskillet Road. Follow this road for one mile before turning West onto Lefthand Canyon. Follow this 6 miles into the little mining town of Ward (population 150). During the peak of the gold rush, Ward was the richest town in the state. It’s a humble town now, but endlessly scenic. Grab lunch at Marrocco’s Family Dining before continuing. From here, you can take Lefthand Canyon back downtown… or continue your adventure in the nearby Indian Peaks Wilderness

Scenic Stops Along Sunshine Canyon Dr.

Sunshine Canyon Trail 

Distance: 2.3 miles

Difficulty: Easy 

This out-and-back trail is a quick nature fix that grants you forest, meadow, and mountain views. It’s a short hike with big rewards. 

Learn more.

Mount Sanitas via Sunshine Canyon 

Distance: 7.7 mile

Difficulty: Challenging

Think Sunshine Canyon Dr is pretty enough to walk? The first leg of this trail follows alongside Sunshine Canyon Drive. Eventually, it will tuck into the gorge and lead you to the top of Mount Sanitas. It’s a trail that will get your heart rate up. 

Learn more. 

Lyons Lair

Distance: 4.1 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

This route is similar to Mount Sanitas via the Sunshine Canyon trail listed above. It essentially just cuts off the first part of the route, making the trek to the top of Sanitas a bit quicker. You’ll still get plenty of views. The views at the top of Sanitas are always rewarding. 

Learn more. 

Bald Mountain Scenic Area

A quick stroll from the parking area will take you up a bald, grassy meadow to one of the most scenic overlooks in Boulder. Perch on top of a rock outcropping and you’ll feel as though you’re on top of the world. The rocky mountains unfold before you. 

Sunshine Canyon Road Viewpoint 

Another quick overlook, but one that grants completely different views than the Bald Mountain overlook. From this viewpoint, you can gaze down into the canyon itself. 

Centennial Trailhead

The Centennial Trailhead is located at the start of Sunshine Canyon Road. This trailhead connects with many different Boulder trail systems, including:

  • Red Rocks Trail
  • Sunshine Lake
  • Panorama Point 
  • Chautauqua 
  • Flagstaff 

And so many more. 

It’s both the gateway to sunshine canyon… and the gateway to the Boulder Trail system. 

Learn more. 

A Sneak Peek of Some Impressive Properties in Sunshine Canyon

It’s impossible to drive through Sunshine Canyon without noticing some of the impressive properties along the way. Although architectural styles vary, they all seem to fit naturally into the impressive landscape. If you’re a bit real-estate obsessed like our Boulder realtors, you’ll be curious to know what some of these homes look like on the inside. Here, the Boulder real estate agents at Burgess Group | Compass list a few of our favorites:

4789 Sunshine Canyon Dr.

Any Boulder realtor agrees…This home has a lot of “wow” factors! The builders utilized $200,000 worth of energy-efficient mechanicals (like photovoltaics and geothermal heating). Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the expanse of mountain peaks that surround this home’s 32-acres. A modern-alpine design fits perfectly into the landscape while remaining fresh and modern. 

View photos.  

2593 Sunshine Canyon Dr.

This home is on the segment of Sunshine Canyon Dr that’s closer to downtown (only 8 minutes from Pearl!). It sits amid a pine forest, with southern views and a meticulously terraced stone lot. Soothing sounds of a seasonal creek trickle past the home and can be observed from the many balconies. Cathedral ceilings crown the primary living space,  and gorgeous stonework is incorporated throughout the floorplan.

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440 Seven Hills Drive

This home was built by famed architect Charles Haertling.  It sits amid pines and granite rock croppings. This mid-century modern home is soothingly minimalistic and was built to emphasize its natural surroundings. A few unique features of this home include an indoor rock wall, wood-burning stove, adobe alcove office (with New-Mexico style adobe fireplace), and a home theatre.  

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279 Green Meadow Lane

Recently remodeled, this modern cabin is luxurious, while remaining unpretentious.  Natural light and vaulted ceilings make this a soothing living space. A roomy 3.7 acres gives you space to breathe in the fresh mountain air and pine forest surrounding you. 

View photos. 

Homes for Sale on Sunshine Canyon Dr. 

Sunshine Canyon is a perfect place to live a mountain lifestyle… while only being a few miles away from downtown Boulder shops, restaurants, and culture. The Boulder realtor team at Burgess Group | Compass lists homes along Sunshine Canyon constantly! If this is an area you’re interested in… just let us know!